Polar vortex timeline: Des Moines conditions will worsen, but there's light at the end of the tunnel
It's gonna get worse. Sorry.
Temperatures in Des Moines will get colder and eventually descend below zero Tuesday night, said Allan Curtis, a meteorologist with the Des Moines branch of the National Weather Service.
"Rock bottom" will come Wednesday morning between 4 and 8 a.m., he said. The temperature will get colder than minus 20 degrees and the wind chill could reach minus 45 — conditions the weather service called "extremely dangerous."
Note: If the windchill calculator isn't working for you, you can access it here.
But, friends, help is on the way. Southern winds will push the cold out, and temperatures will reach the 40s — the 40s! — on Saturday.
Here's a timeline for what you can expect for the rest of the week, according to Curtis:
2 p.m.: The temperature will sit around 2 degrees. "Pretty breezy" winds out of the northwest will blow at around 20 mph, gusting around 35 mph. The wind chill will dip to minus 20. But that's not even close to its worst.
8 p.m.: It starts to get bad. The temperature dips below zero to minus 7. Winds will slow to around 15 mph, but the wind chill will reach minus 30 at times.
4-8 a.m.: This is when it'll be the coldest, so stay inside. "Brace yourself," Curtis said. The temperature will hit minus 22 or 23 with the wind chill reaching between minus 40 and minus 45. Winds will still come out of the northwest at around 10 mph.
2 p.m.: This is when Des Moines will reach close to its daytime "high": minus 10 degrees. The wind will breeze around 10 mph, and the wind chill will hang around minus 25 degrees.
8 p.m.: Winds start to come from the south, but the temperature will still dip to minus 14 degrees. The wind chill will still sit round minus 25 degrees.
8 a.m.: The southern winds begin to help, raising the temperature to a balmy minus 6 degrees. The wind chill will improve slightly to about minus 20.
2 p.m.: Holy smokes, it's going to be about 7 degrees above zero with winds out of the southeast. The wind chill will only be minus 5 — child's play. “We’ll all be seasoned veterans at that point,” Curtis said.
8 p.m.: Not much change from earlier in the afternoon. The temperature will hang around 6 degrees, the wind chill at minus 5.
8 a.m.: Now we're cookin'. It's 8 a.m. and we'll already be above zero at 6 degrees. The wind chill will still be at minus 5.
2 p.m.: The southern winds push the temperature up to double digits, 16 degrees. The wind chill will even be on the right side of zero, approaching 10 degrees.
8 p.m.: It'll be around 20 degrees at this point, so who even cares about the wind chill?
Folks, it's going to get all the way up into the 40s. “It may as well be basketball short weather,” Curtis said.